Looking back on SXSW
How the West was won
This year’s South by Southwest went west – Kanye West.
The week belonged to West and his G.O.O.D. Music label mates putting on a festival-stealing performance Saturday in a not so secret show.
On Thursday, Breakout Records hosted a free show featuring some of the best names in power-pop featuring The Girls, Gentlemen Jesse and The Cute Lepers. That same night at Aces Lounge, all-girl garage rock trio The Vivian Girls played a spastic, unorganized but entertaining set.’
The main event that night was West’s prot’eacute;g’eacute;, Kid Cudi, whose alternative brand of hip-hop shows that the genre’s future is bright. Kid Cudi energetically rocked through his A Kid Named Cudi mixtape with crowd favorites ‘Dat New ‘New’,’ ‘Embrace the Martian’ and the catchy single ‘Day ‘N’ Nite,’ complete with a dance-remix outro. ‘The Sky Might Fall,’ a song off Kid Cudi’s coming full-length release, also made the set.
Friday’s Shirts For A Cure cancer benefit was the best rock show of the weekend.’ Synth-punk band The A.K.A.S started off the showcase with its brand of hip-shaking protest music. Hardcore act Ruiner followed and metal core band Darkest Hour proved to be a pleasant surprise.’
The Midwest punk rock of Dillinger Four showed why that region is the dominant style in the genre at the moment.’
It is hard to fathom that the Bouncing Souls have been a band for 20 years and headlining Shirts For A Cure was the band’s first SXSW appearance.The band blazed through a nearly 90-minute set, cataloguing 20 years of work. New songs ‘Gasoline’ and ‘Airport Security’ were played in addition to the usual sing-along rockers such as ‘Hopeless Romantic,’ ‘True Believers,’ ‘Midnight Mile’ and ‘The Gold Song.” Hip-hop artist P.O.S., a huge punk-rock fan, even made a cameo on stage to lend a voice to the Bouncing Souls.
Complete with a hard-hitting backing band, B.o.B played a short show at Peckerheads bar. Laying rap flows over rock beats, B.o.B is another fresh face in hip-hop. Later that night, Houston’s own The Bummy Teenagers (Smash Bro and UH’s own Fat Tony) played at a house party with Atlanta’s Supreeme, making for a fun hip-hop show that wasn’t on 6th Street.
– Mike Damante
All about hip-hop
This year’s festival was about hip-hop.
Rhymesayers Entertainment act P.O.S. played an energetic set at Habana Bar, presenting songs off his newest album, Never Better. He even brought out Doomtree acts Dessa and Cecil Otter to perform ‘Low Light Low Life.’
Thursday belonged to Long Island’s As Tall As Lions. Their MySpace sponsored show was incredibly intimate, giving the band a chance to preview songs from their coming album due this summer. The new songs were received well, along with choice selections from their self-titled 2006 album.
On Friday, the Nah Right/The Smoking Section showcase was the place to be. It was a full house and the lineup was filled with up and coming hip-hop artists. Curren$y, a signee of Lil Wayne’s Young Money, played a less-than-stellar set, while artists such as Blu and Charles Hamilton demonstrated what the future of hip-hop will be.
After a no-show from Mickey Factz, B.o.B. (now known as Bobby Ray) closed out the show in true ATL fashion. The night’s musical festivities closed with Peter Bjorn and John’s eccentric and upbeat set.’
‘ In the end however, SXSW did indeed belong to Kanye West. Saturday night’s G.O.O.D. Music label showcased without a doubt the hottest and most lively show to hit SXSW in years. Metallica even shocked fans with a surprise show.
The Levis Fader Fort was definitely the place to be when West and his labelmates hit the stage. The entire set was a huge integration of their personal collaborations with West, along with a few of their own songs to showcase. Mainstay label artists GLC and Consequence, along newcomers Big Sean and Kid Cudi, definitely helped beef the show up.
Even those artists couldn’t hold a candle to special guest Common, a longtime collaborator and G.O.O.D. Music reigning artist. Erykah Badu even popped in to say hello and perform a freestyle with Common.’
This show is just one of the reasons that proves Mr. West is one of the biggest stars in music, sending off SXSW 2009 with a proper goodbye.
– Roshan Bhatt